Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dual clutch transmission

Dual clutch transmission systems are fitted to a variety of mostly high-performance cars but it’s only now that a bike manufacturer has followed suit. Honda's DCT is available as a £1,100 option on the 2010 VFR1200F and, being a Honda, almost inevitably it works well.

Honda says that DCT is not an automatic transmission, but an electronic manual, changes being achieved by pushing buttons on the left handlebar. There’s no clutch lever as this is always controlled automatically. In Sport or Touring modes gearchanging is fully automatic. All the rider has to do is turn the throttle, just like a big and very sophisticated scooter.

The gearbox is no different to any other motorcycle's; the novelty is in having a second clutch and hydraulics controlling the system.

The bike pulls away smoothly. Slow manoeuvres and tight turns are slightly more difficult on the DCT VFR than on the manual version, but the system is predictable and easy. The only disappointment is when you want a fast getaway, the clutch isn’t slipped as much as you would manually and the bike doesn’t take off quite as it should with 170bhp.

It’s somewhat disingenuous to claim, as Honda does, that the system is more economical than a manual – this is only the case in Touring mode, which keeps the revs lower than most riders would use in everyday conditions.


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